LONDON: A small town named Patna in the East Ayrshire region of Scotland marked 'Bihar Diwas' today to celebrate its historic links with the Bihar capital.
Patna was established in 1802 by Scottish agriculturist William Fullarton to provide housing for people who worked on his Skeldon estate and coalfields.
He named the town after Patna in Bihar, where he was born and spent his formative years.
Patna had always been an important centre of learning and trade, said Y K Sinha, the Indian high commissioner to the UK who was the chief guest at the event over the weekend.
Fullarton created Patna in Scotland in memory of his father, Surgeon William Fullarton, who was associated with the British East India Company and served in India between 1744-66, during which time he established close contacts with local historians, painters, artists and traders.
Bihar Diwas, which marks the day the state of Bihar was carved out of the Bengal Presidency by the British in 1912, is celebrated every year on March 22.
The event in Scotland on March 17 was organised by the Patna Community Association, along with the Vibrant Communities group.
It involved cultural performances by Indian dance groups and young people from Patna Primary.
Sinha, himself from the state of Bihar, promised to extend all possible support to the institutions linking the two cities.
He traced the history of Patna, the ancient city of Patliputra, capital of past empires, and highlighted the role of the city in India's freedom struggle and in the making of modern India.
Reliving some of his own memories of Patna, he made a special mention of the Nalanda University, one of the earliest and biggest centres of learning in the ancient world.
Today, the modern Nalanda University revives the glorious academic heritage of India, he noted.
The event coincided with an exhibition depicting the culture and cuisine of Patna.
Community members also presented glimpses of major festivals of Bihar such as Chhat Pooja, Sama Chakeva, Teej and celebrated the lives of Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavira and Guru Gobind Singh.
The Consulate General of India in Edinburgh, which is headed by Anju Ranjan, also presented an audio-visual tour of the culture and touristic destinations of Bihar and history of Patna.
The Provost of East Ayrshire, Jim Todd, and Provost of South Ayrshire, Helen Moonie, were among the guests of honour and Scottish Minister for Social Security Jeane Freeman represented the Scottish government at the event.